Electric vs. regular

The sooner you throw out that standard toothbrush the better, according to Debbie Rogers.

Rogers, a registered dental hygienist with the Advanced Dental Studio of Joseph Gatti, 5100 Bob Billings Parkway, says the benefits of replacing a standard toothbrush with a quality electric model are great.

“I’m a huge proponent of electric toothbrushes,” says Rogers, a dental hygienist for 15 years. “They have evolved a lot since they first came out, and they will actually do a better job of brushing your teeth than a manual toothbrush.”

Many dental professionals like Rogers extol the virtues of the electric brushes, which they say can be more effective in keeping teeth clean than the old standby, particularly for those who aren’t able to clean their teeth thoroughly with a standard toothbrush.

“If you can afford one, get one,” says Stephanie Beshore, registered dental hygienist at Legends Drive Dental Center, 4900 Legends Drive.

Electric toothbrushes do cost more than standard toothbrushes. Beshore recommended interested buyers talk with their dentists first. She says Legends Drive Dental, for example, buys two respected brands in bulk and offers them to customers at a reduced price, $60 to $150 depending on the model.

In many ways, electric brushes take the hard work out of brushing.

“To remove plaque, you have to have that mechanical action against the tooth and the gums,” Beshore says. “Whatever type of mechanical action you can get going in there, that extra motion is going to get the plaque off.”

Dentists suggest two minutes of brushing for a good cleaning. Electric toothbrushes generally make 20,000 to 40,000 brushstrokes per minute, Rogers says.

“In the same amount of time, it just does more brush strokes, and it’s more effective,” says Rogers. “It definitely increases the periodontal health and, along with flossing, it will definitely decrease the amount of cavities you’re getting.”

Rogers says she purchased electric brushes for herself and her family.

“In my house, nobody has a manual toothbrush,” she says. “The only place I have a manual toothbrush is in my car.”

Rogers recommends such electric toothbrush brands as Philips Sonicare. She says she works with patients to help them choose the right brush and to help them learn how to use it correctly.

Electric brushes often come with additional features. Some have pressure sensors that let users know if they are brushing too hard.

“I think the pressure sensor is a good thing,” Beshore says, “because we see a lot of wear on teeth because people are pressing too hard.”

Some models have timers that ensure a user brushes for the full length of time.

“Some people like more bells and whistles, and if that motivates them to pay more attention to their brushing, then I think that’s great,” Beshore says.